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Tips to Plan Your Holiday Marketing For The Most Challenging Holiday Season In Recent History

Now is high time to get ready for the craziness of promotion and selling during the holiday season.

But this holiday season will be like no other. Merchants have to adapt their stores to meet lots of unexpected changes this year in order to sell their products in the most efficient way.

First, start with preparing your online store for the upcoming holiday surge of traffic, There are a few points to consider

Important Holiday Shopping Trends and Things to Do

Your marketing efforts are ultimately judged by their impact on revenue. This means you should make sure that your ecommerce website has made all needed enhancements to the customer experience, especially at the purchase point before you go with promotions.

Another important point to take into account is the mobile. As 5G coverage expands, people are turning to their phones to make actual purchases. If customers are interacting with your ads on their mobile device, and then they land to an ecommerce store that’s built to work on a desktop, you will lose customers. They will go to your direct competitors that can offer them a smoother mobile purchase experience.

Retailers with engaging online & in-store experiences will have the upper hand. Make it clear in your ads, on local business listings, and on social media what’s available in-store and on-site. Step-by-step instruction for picking up online purchases in-store or curbside is a must.

Finally, analyze your current engagement data, current ranking, and overall search volume to understand the opportunity at hand to prioritize what is going to be the lowest level of effort and highest return for your brand.

You should also evaluate your advertising funnels to make sure customers are smoothly moving from the ad to your store, and your landing pages are aligned with the conversion experience. Test with different promotional messaging, and be open to shifting spending depending on what’s working.

Nail your targeting to reach more customers through paid channels

Let’s face it: you won’t be able to boost your brand in a saturated market without paid advertising. When it comes to targeting for holiday 2020, you need to look more closely at your audiences and how you’re segmenting customers.

There are two main goals to consider:

  • Acquiring new customers
  • Increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of existing customers.

Acquiring new customers

When it comes to acquiring customers through advertising, there are three audience groups that you should consider.

The first group are lookalike audiences based on your top customers.

The second group is in-market and affinity audiences. It would be best if you targeted people who are actively researching and comparing products similar to your offer’s product lines. You can target them through Google Display Network (GDN) in-market audiences.

Affinity audiences are people who have interests aligned with your products, based on their recent and ongoing behavior. They might not be familiar with your brand, but they often have high-intent. You can target them through networks like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

For both groups, it’s important to start promotions as early as possible to build brand awareness.

The final group to consider when you look to get new customers around the holidays are niche audiences that are interested in gifts and “holiday” options in your specific area.

Increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of existing customers

Focusing only on new customer acquisition at the expense of customer retention will cost you a lot in the long run. You know that loyal, repeat customers are actually responsible for generating the most profit for your brand. Why? You’ve paid once to get them to your store, but they spend multiple times a year. This is called the lifetime value of your customers (LVT).

Prioritizing their needs and investing in those relationships this holiday season will increase your bottom line and keep your margins healthy despite the huge holiday discounts.

So what targeting strategy you can utilize to increase the LVT?

Through retargeting, you can reach four groups of customers that are likely to engage again with your brand this holiday season:

You should retarget first-time customers that purchased from you earlier this year. It’s also worthwhile to engage with customers who made purchases in Q4 of last year because they are very likely to shop online again.

A study showed that at least some of these customers who legitimately fit a retailer’s definition of inactive actually consider themselves highly loyal to that same retailer. That’s why it’s important to consider also targeting lapsing customers who are already familiar with your brand.

Content strategy for 2020 holiday shoppers

This year there will be more first-time online buyers than ever before, and creating a friendly, accessible experience means you’ll win those new customers.

The biggest frustrations online shoppers have are too many options, a lack of inspiration, and too little support. In fact, 29% of shoppers say that there’s too much to choose from, while 24% say that online stores don’t provide enough product information and support to make selecting the right gift simpler.

This is why, to win new customers this holiday season, you need to do two things:

  • Your store website should take on the traditional role of the salesperson through curated gift guides, clear communication, and FAQs around online shopping and services like gift wrapping, BOPIS (buy online, pick in-store), and return policies.
  • Building content targeting customers who usually shop in stores

It’s a well-known fact that most holiday shoppers do research. It’s key to use that information for both audience targeting and content creation.

Many brands recognize the importance of gift guides. They will inspire shoppers, showcase your products, and help your brand stay top of mind throughout the season. But it’s important to note that creating a winning gift guide takes more than just rounding up your products and putting them in a catalog.

Consider these options to make the most of your brand’s holiday gift guide:

  • Optimize the content for SEO terms related to holiday gift guides, related to relevant niche audiences
  • Promote them as a hero image on your homepage or add something in the site navigation to alert visitors and get them to read it
  • Partner with influencers to create curated gift guides around a theme or audience to attract new audiences to your brand
  • Create interactive gift finders that will help you bring the in-person shopping experience to life online

Give incentives to holiday shoppers to buy from your brand

Promos and coupons are the top factor influencing holiday purchases. And there’s no doubt that, in a climate of economic uncertainty, price will be a huge motivator for consumers this year.

The good news is that the overall impact of the pandemic on the people’s finances so far has not been as dramatic as it could have been. But with all the uncertainty ahead, people are definitely looking to save even if they haven’t seen a negative impact directly.

The other major factor to take into consideration is delivery. Last year, retailers struggled with late holiday fulfillment because delivery was overtaxed; this year, consumers have been dealing with delivery delays and fulfillment challenges since March. With the pandemic and lockdowns around the world, delivery systems were overwhelmed, and supply chains disrupted.

For most retailers, investment in online advertising during the holiday season is traditionally concentrated in November and December, targeting Black Friday/Cyber Week bargain hunters and gift buyers closer to the holidays.

This year is different. Businesses cannot wait to spend in a single period that may see severe disruption and not pay off. With Covid-19, we can’t predict what will happen.

Salesforce predicts that Prime Day will steal up to 10% of Cyber Week’s digital revenue, and that’s good news because it makes it more likely that customers will start buying earlier. But your business needs to be careful and keep an eye on profitability metrics when deciding how heavily to incentivize around Prime Day.

Although the conversion rate is high during the holidays, the lower AOV (average order value) through discounts and high CPA can eat your margins. Balance your promotional strategy to make sure it makes sense against your revenue goals.

What new strategies will be the most effective?

Look to gather information from existing customers on what perks or offers would be the most meaningful or valuable to them.

Consider running lead gen campaigns in October to reach new audiences that you can engage through email marketing. Then retarget them with incentives and offers on paid search and social through the rest of the season.

Campaigns should emphasize the benefits of shopping early: avoiding stress, bypassing delivery problems, taking advantage of discounts. That will be especially effective to mitigate potential end-of-year disruption if new lockdown restrictions slow down shipping times even more.

If you are offering and incentivizing BOPIS, start testing campaigns that showcase safety procedures and how your brand is making sure everyone stays safe if they come in store. Efficiency, ease of pickup, and convenience are all powerful motivators for BOPIS that can be combined with incentives to drive both purchases and desired customer behavior.

Improve your holiday organic traffic

On the organic side, look to start updating older holiday content to bring it back on top of organic search. Updates to more evergreen holiday content can give you the opportunity to push out more content early, which is essential to organic visibility and SEO success.

How to Prepare for A Holly Jolly SEO Holiday

  • Make sure you are just as prepared and set up for success on the organic marketing side as you are on the paid side.
  • Start early by evaluating mobile compatibility, load time, site speed, or other technical issues that might impact organic performance.
  • Audit, update, and optimize old holiday content that already has ranked well.
  • Look to Google Trends for information about new and past trends to inspire ideas for new holiday content.
  • Build optimized landing pages for key promotion pushes, like Prime Day or Black Friday.
  • Make sure your organic strategy is aligned with and complementary to your paid efforts.

Marketing planning for the holiday season gives you the chance to really figure out what tactics will work best for your brand based on current trends and past campaigns. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments on the fly to get maximum results. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that prevents you from massive conversions in sales.

Also, don’t forget the prepare your store for the massive traffic and better conversions because marketing is great, but if your customers do not convert once they click through your ads and land on your website, you’ve wasted your marketing budgets.

What’s more, avoiding holiday nightmares like a crashed website on Cyber Week, or customers complain that something doesn’t work on your website is your high priority.

After months of hard work, you don’t want your customers to be disappointed and unable to make purchases. It’s often overlooked, but support for your business is make or break for success.

Our expert team can help you with anything related to selling online and growing your business, like boosting conversion, improving your shopping experience, recommending solutions for taxes, payments, shipping, software integrations, and premium support.

We also offer growth and launch services where you will work with a dedicated ecommerce expert to help you plan for success.

Write us at info@airdesigns.us or set a quick call with us to discuss your most urgent needs for the holiday season.

Elena Velikova

Elena Velikova

Co-founder & CEO

Marketing10 min read

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